Cape Cod, Massachusetts Reports and Investigations Related to Pave Paws Radar Installations

November 26, 1999

Dear Interested Parties,

Please find the accompanying reports entitled Initial Report on the Environmental Health Assessment of the PAVE PAWS radar at the MMR, received by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) this past summer and Assessment of Public Health Concerns Associated with PAVE PAWS Radar Installations, November 1, 1999. The reports were prepared by an expert scientific panel assembled by MDPH to address citizen concerns regarding potential health effects resulting from the operation of the PAVE PAWS radar facility at the Massachusetts Military Reservation in Bourne, Massachusetts. The panel was comprised of experts representing disciplines associated with the design of PAVE PAWS, and the understanding of the epidemiology, and health effects of radio frequency radiation (RFR), the type of energy emitted by PAVE PAWS,

Prior to the preparation of the reports, the panel conducted a comprehensive review of historical information associated with the Cape Cod PAVE PAWS facility. They were provided by Military, Federal, and State agencies, and the public with all documents known to exist which were associated with the operation of PAVE PAWS. A list of these documents is attached. In addition, the expert panel toured the PAVE PAWS facility and met with the military and civilian staff assigned to operate and maintain PAVE PAWS. The panel also attended a public meeting, which afforded residents the opportunity to voice their concerns to the panel for the panel's consideration during their investigatory process.

The panel concludes "there is no definitive scientific evidence to claim that the anticipated low radio frequency radiation (RFR) levels from PAVE PAWS could cause any harmful effect to the public." They also state that there is "suggestive scientific evidence that RFR produces bio-effects at much lower intensities than previously known." For this reason, they recommend that exposure risks to RFR from PAVE PAWS be described through environmental sampling.

The MDPH supports the panel's recommendations and the public sentiment that there should be a comprehensive characterization of PAVE PAWS RFR exposure. MDPH officials previously met with Air Force representatives to discuss the need for additional sampling. The Air Force has agreed to collaborate with all stakeholders in supporting the panel's recommendations for a comprehensive characterization of potential PAVE PAWS RFR in affected Cape Cod communities. This will enable the MDPH to assess public exposure opportunities in various Upper cape environments.

The MDPH will seek the collaboration of local health officers, legislators, and the public to develop an effective protocol for the comprehensive characterization of opportunities for human exposure to PAVE PAWS.

The reports are available on our website at: If you have further questions or concerns regarding PAVE PAWS please feel free to contact Kevin Costas or myself at (617) 624-5757.


Suzanne K. Condon, Director
Bureau of Environmental Health Assessment
Massachusetts Department of Public Health


This information is provided by the Environmental Health within the Department of Public Health.